Author Topic: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?  (Read 1053 times)

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Offline 4thisguy

  • Posts: 8
Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« on: May 12, 2020, 12:19 PM »
Looking for suggestions on which of the options I already own would give me the best results cutting 80/20 extruded aluminum.  Options I'm considering:
 1) TS75 with the metal cutting blade - my hesitancy here is that the blade says it's for cutting steel not aluminum.  Has anyone used this for 80/20?
 2) HKC55 - I own the standard, fine, and rip blades.  I understand they make a metal blade, but would have to locate it and then that's something to buy.
 3) Kapex with the standard blade.  I'm not sure I will do this often enough to justify the $150+ for the metal blade.
 4) I also have a Milwaukee 6 1/2" circular saw for which I could probably find a blade.

I'm planning to build some benches and jigs so I'd like a fairly clean cut, but likely won't be cutting aluminum often so would prefer not spending more than I need to.  Any suggestions are appreciated!
Thanks,
Guy

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Offline KelleyCrafts

  • Posts: 46
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2020, 12:37 PM »
You can work aluminum with any of the options you described. Carbide with cut it fine and the speed of the blade isn't hugely important for aluminum in this instance.

I would use the Kapex or TS75 myself. I have used the TS75 to cut a few pieces of aluminum extrusion. I don't own a Kapex but I have used a miter saw in the past.

Offline Alex

  • Posts: 6431
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2020, 12:50 PM »
my hesitancy here is that the blade says it's for cutting steel not aluminum. 

No worries. It is about how hard your blade is. If it is hard enough for steel, it is definitely suited for aluminium. The other way around does not work.

But aluminium is such a soft metal, you can easily cut it with a standard blade for wood. I don't have to cut aluminium very often, so I never bothered to buy a special blade for it, but when I do occasionally need to cut it, my normal wood blades do the job just fine without problems.



Online rvieceli

  • Posts: 1150

Offline 4thisguy

  • Posts: 8
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2020, 01:14 PM »
Thanks for the replies.  Sounds like the metal cutting blade on the TS75 is a reasonable option to try first, but good to know I wouldn't be putting my Kapex blade at risk if that felt like a safer/more secure way of cutting.  I also appreciate the 3rd party blade recommendation...I may check that out as the price is much more reasonable.

Offline KelleyCrafts

  • Posts: 46
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2020, 01:21 PM »
@4thisguy Aluminum is super soft so definitely don't think too much into it. That Oshlun blade is handy and I use it for brass/bronze/copper but to put it into perspective, I use my regular router table to round off corners on aluminum. Does just fine. I wouldn't route a dado in it though. I have a metal mill and metal lathe so I work metal frequently. Aluminum is the softest of the bunch.

The Oshlun blade is handy for sure so you could use that for this but I assure you, the carbide on these blades can handle aluminum just fine.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7211
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2020, 01:21 PM »
I'd go for the Kapex with a spray of lubricant because it will give you the squarest cut of the bunch.

I've cut 1/2" thick aluminum sheet with a TSC 55 on a rail and a Festool aluminum blade on the saw. Really, really nice.   

Offline 4thisguy

  • Posts: 8
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2020, 01:42 PM »
Thanks!  Any recommended lubricants?

To the routing question, I will have to open up some of the t-tracks to give room for clamps to slip in.  I was planning to make a little template for my OF1400.  Assume taking small passes and a decent bit, I shouldn't have too many problems?

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7211
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2020, 01:55 PM »
Here’s another thread on enlarging the slot on 80/20.

Some here prefer WD40, I usually use a wax stick.

I usually use IPA for drilling and routing, just be careful as it is flammable.

https://festoolownersgroup.com/index.php?pretty;board=festool-jigs-tool-enhancements;topic=routingmilling-8020-for-festool-clamps-using-an-mfs-a-1010.msg573098#msg573098

Offline Peter_C

  • Posts: 804
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2020, 03:27 PM »
Ideally you want a negative hook blade for aluminum and plastic. Anything else "can" cause a kickback as it might grab. Slower speeds are good too.

Online rvieceli

  • Posts: 1150
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2020, 03:48 PM »
@Cheese I know it’s isopropyl alcohol but every time you type IPA I want to be in a darkened bar with a bowl of bar snacks and a beer.  [wink] Now more than ever.

Although I’d probably order a porter or a stout.  [tongue]

Ron

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7211
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2020, 03:51 PM »
Ideally you want a negative hook blade for aluminum and plastic. Anything else "can" cause a kickback as it might grab. Slower speeds are good too.

That’s another reason to use the Kapex. The standard Festool blade has a negative hook.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7211
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2020, 03:55 PM »
@Cheese I know it’s isopropyl alcohol but every time you type IPA I want to be in a darkened bar with a bowl of bar snacks and a beer.  [wink] Now more than ever.

Although I’d probably order a porter or a stout.  [tongue]

Ron, an ice cold beer or an ice cold martini...now that’s a tough decision to make.  [big grin]

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 1613
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2020, 04:43 PM »
" I will have to open up some of the t-tracks to give room for clamps to slip in"

I don't know if this is a viable option, but would it be easier to mod the small area on the clamps to fit the slot? Sound like less work but if it doesn't work then not an option I guess. How much do you need to 'open up' the 80/20 slot to accept the clamps? I don't have any here but I've worked with it in the past assembling some instrument racks. But that was more like an Ikea style project as everything was cut to length and just put it together per the drawing.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Online Bob D.

  • Posts: 1613
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2020, 04:45 PM »
"The standard Festool blade has a negative hook."

Don't most blades intended for use in Radial Arm Saws or Miter Saws have a negative hook?
I know many people will use a table saw blade in a 10" miter saw but it's not ideal because
of the hook angle.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline Jim Metzger

  • Posts: 73
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2020, 10:53 PM »
I tried cutting a complex aluminum extrusion for a door bottom sweep with a Kapex. It did not go well, the blade grabbed an edge that was sticking up and scared the &^%$& out of me as it ripped the extrusion from my hand.. Cutting simple flat, square and tube shapes were no problem.


If at all concerned I'd cut with an angle grinder and sand to square.





Offline Svar

  • Posts: 2029
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2020, 11:17 PM »
I tried cutting a complex aluminum extrusion for a door bottom sweep with a Kapex. It did not go well, the blade grabbed an edge that was sticking up and scared the &^%$& out of me as it ripped the extrusion from my hand.
You must clamp your workpiece.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7211
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2020, 11:17 PM »
"The standard Festool blade has a negative hook."

Don't most blades intended for use in Radial Arm Saws or Miter Saws have a 5º negative hook?
I know many people will use a table saw blade in a 10" miter saw but it's not ideal because
of the hook angle.

Yes Bob, that's the reason to use a Kapex even if you don't own the aluminum blade. All the other suggested alternatives have hook angles from +10º to + 20º.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 7211
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2020, 11:33 PM »
I tried cutting a complex aluminum extrusion for a door bottom sweep with a Kapex. It did not go well, the blade grabbed an edge that was sticking up and scared the &^%$& out of me as it ripped the extrusion from my hand.. Cutting simple flat, square and tube shapes were no problem.

The most important issues for cutting non-ferrous material is to use a blade designed for the application and to securely clamp the material down. You can get get by with "cheating the tax collector" from time to time but for the safest and most enjoyable cutting experience, just purchase the correct blade. Also slow the blade down, that's one of the advantages of using the Kapex for these applications.

Proper fixturing & clamping when drilling, milling & sawing makes all the difference when machining metals. Aluminum is soft but if you make a mistake, it will force you to change your undies.  [big grin]

Offline miclee15

  • Posts: 61
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2020, 01:40 PM »
I just did this for the first time. Used the kapex with the factory blade.  Used some lube, turned off the DC and made small slow cuts.  Came out great.  Worse part is I have metal bits all over the place

Offline Richard/RMW

  • Posts: 1990
Re: Cutting aluminum extrusion using what I have?
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2020, 04:05 PM »
Heck, I'm constantly cutting aluminum stuff in the shop, 80/20 extrusions, Festool guide rails, whatever wanders into my path & with whatever blade is in the tool at the time. Unintentionally. [doh]

Every blade seems to work just fine...  [poke]

RMW
As of 10/17 I am out of the Dog business and pursuing other distractions. Thanks for a fun ride!